The Alps are particularly majestic. More than the Pyrenees, more than Corsica, in a different class to anything you find in Britain. It’s partly about scale, partly about sculpture.

I stayed at Wengen in 2006 in the Bernese area. I wanted to see the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. An American couple at the hostel said the Lauterbrunnen Valley below reminded them of Yosemite. I understand the point from pictures. But, they said, it keeps going on, up and up. The train to Wengen reaches 1274 metres. From there you can climb or take a cable car to Mannlichen which is 2343 metres. From there you can walk to Kleine Scheidgee and take a train which cuts through the Eiger, arriving at Jungfraujoch at 3466 metres. It’s a vast glacier such that walkers don’t often see. It’s mountaineering terrain.

I’m not sure that height as such is the attraction, although people climb Everest to be at the highest place on earth. It’s what height reveals. What it reveals is space. The air is thin at the Jungfraujoch and I found it hard to breathe. I panicked. I’d not experienced that before. Japanese tourists wore oxygen masks.

I didn’t notice this shot when I worked on my Swiss Alps photographs. My ideas at that time were different. There’s an internal idea: you want a particular aesthetic and discard everything else. After a few years, you might see differently.

 

Alps

Friday December 18, 2015